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Poster: gratefuldiver Date: Oct 14, 2011 9:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Englishtown NFA in a class by itself?

Since I consider that Boston Garden show to have one of the best first sets of the era, I had to give them a side-by-side listen (actually, several listens) and break them down. Indeed the Boston Half Step is in the same league, but I still have to go with Englishtown.

With Boston, I love (when he's on piano) that Keith is miked very high, and Bobby's guitar is also very prominent. Unfortunately, this seems to be at the expense of Phil a bit. (I try to leave recording/mixing out of the equation when judging performances but sometimes it's just not possible to. Since the recording quality of the Charlie Miller transfer is so fantastic--excepting the constant shifts in channels--I wouldn't say that my opinions are biased by the sound quality.) I agree that Jerry's solo after the third verse is very impressive. It does have a great, almost structured, build-up to the climax (7:15). For me though, it's really just a great Jerry solo. The rest of the band is trying to follow along; they aren't much more than the 'rhythm section' and are mediocre (comparatively) at that.

Respectfully, here's what I love about Englishtown: First, for all of the jams (and most importantly, the last two), the band really plays as one, instead of being simple accompaniment to Jerry. For example, I think that Keith complements Jerry's solos much more in the Englishtown version. When he's on organ during the Boston jams, Keith seems to be taking up space. As for comparing the solos, I think that the way that Jerry begins the Englishtown solo after the third verse (at 4:19) is nothing short of elegant. I realize it's a subtle difference from the start of the same Boston solo, but the beginning of the Englishtown version just has something special. Hands down, for me, the best moment of any solo (either show) is the flurry of notes that Jerry hits at 5:53. And the rest of the band nail it with him and keep it going until 6:24! Then, after noodling around on the transition to the 'Rio Grande' chorus, there is a tease (from 7:52 to 8:50) that the jam might take off again before the 'Rio Grande' chorus. If nothing else, it gives one the impression that they might not do the post-Rio-Grande jam (which wasn't always a given). But they do, and Jerry finishes it with picking just as fast as the long solo of the Boston version.


(Timings were based on SHNID 88525 for Boston and Dick's Picks for Englishtown.)

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Oct 15, 2011 9:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Englishtown NFA in a class by itself?

very nice breakdown. i'll have to compare them back-to-back when i get a chance.

it seems a lot of the reason you prefer englishtown is due to the collective jamming by everyone, which isn't on the same level in boston.

however, the thing i love about the boston version is the fact that jerry just takes over the song, and his guitar passages after the 3rd verse are some of my favorite he's ever played. i need to give englishtown another listen though. it's been at least half a year since i heard that one.

edit: well i was certainly impressed with englishtown. however, then i listened to boston version, and it just blew away englishtown imho. i've heard the boston one so many times, so maybe i'm biased, but i've never heard jerry play this well on any other half step and this version just has an extra kick to it. he doesn't even need the accompaniment of anyone for most of the song. that's one of the reasons i love jgb so much. i love when jerry takes charge and takes things into another spectrum. as for phil, he is a little low in the mix but it's nothing a good sound system can't take care of. a little boost to my sub and phil sounds amazing. the vocals on the boston version are delivered so well too. but it's really jerry's 2 solos that get me every time.

This post was modified by rdenirojb87 on 2011-10-16 04:06:19

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Poster: gratefuldiver Date: Oct 15, 2011 7:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Englishtown NFA in a class by itself?

Glad you got to listen to them side by side. In a nutshell, yes, maybe the main reason for my preference is that the whole band just gels in the Englishtown version. Nonetheless, that is one of my favorite Jerry solos...period. I have had it going through my head all day, note by note. Perhaps I just have a hard time separating a Jerry solo from what else is going on. For instance, one of all-time favorite solos is the one to finish Comes a Time from 5/9/77. But a big reason for my love of this solo is Keith's contribution. If the same solo were a year later and Keith was nodding off OR years earlier/later and Pigpen or Brent were simply playing some generic chords in the background, that solo wouldn't be on my list. As much as I think Jerry was a fantastic musician, incredibly talented at improvising, and my favorite guitarist, there is a reason why 95 percent of the music I listen to is GD and not bands with Clapton, Hendrix, or Duane Allman (all of whom were arguably more talented soloists): Keith, Bobby, Bill, Phil, Pigpen, Tom, Mickey, Brent, etc.

Thanks for the conversation. I learned a lot about my own reasons for loving the music through this.

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Oct 15, 2011 9:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Englishtown NFA in a class by itself?

I have a small bone to pick. The ABB could jam collectively quite well. All the band members really pushed each other at times, much like the GD. They didn't just rely on Duane.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience, well, pretty clear Hendrix was always lead and center. Same can be said about most of Clapton's work.

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Poster: gratefuldiver Date: Oct 15, 2011 9:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Englishtown NFA in a class by itself?

Point taken. After writing that, I though more about it and realized that when Clapton was playing with the Derek and the Dominoes lineup, Cream, or Blind Faith (IOW surrounded by other great musicians), he was at his best . As for Hendrix, I consider Mitch Mitchell to be one of the greatest R&R drummers ever and Hendrix was not the same without him. ABB statement is obviously true.

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